The Oscars already feel like a distant pop-culture memory, but questions still remain from the 88th annual telecast: When did Sam Smith get fact-checked? Who did Adam McKay shade? And who the heck invited Stacey Dash for the silent social media moment unheard ‘round the world? We investigate.
What car does the winner for Best Documentary Short actually drive?
Presenter Louis C.K. joked that the trophy for Best Doc Short wouldn’t go to a Hollywood millionaire, but rather it would be “going home in a Honda Civic”— a theory that turned out to be true. “The Academy Award, once it goes back to Pakistan, will be in a Honda Civic,” A Girl in the River director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy tells EW. “I have a Honda City, which is a smaller version.”
Did the Academy sign off on Chris Rock’s opening monologue?
Nope. They didn’t hear it until we did. Telecast producers David Hill and Reginald Hudlin tell EW they anticipated the general direction of Rock’s pointed monologue, but Hill says, “Even Chris didn’t know what he was going to say until Sunday.” In rehearsals, Rock merely marked his monologue jokes — “Blah blah blah, Will Smith, blah blah blah” — which Hill says is normal for the process.
Why was Stacey Dash there?
The fleeting appearance of the Clueless actress on stage as the Academy’s “Director of Minority Outreach” — a fictional job — was an effort to create “a social-media moment,” says Hill. (Dash has been outspoken about not boycotting the Oscars and is in favor of canceling Black History Month.) But the moment fizzled. “I got no applause, no boos, nothing,” Dash explained in an online video. “People were, I think, awestruck, which was a little disappointing, but I did it because I wanted to.” Still, Hudlin says the bit was a success: “When people talk about Black Twitter, that subset of Twitter, Stacey Dash and her stances on racial issues have been the topic of ongoing debate, especially since she became a regular correspondent on Fox [News]. So Chris essentially parodying her political stances — it was a joke that was perfect. I talked to one of the PAs, who’s in her twenties, who told me that was one of [her] favorite moments in the show.”
Was Adam McKay dissing a specific presidential candidate?
In his speech for Best Adapted Screenplay, The Big Short director Adam McKay warned voters against supporting candidates who take money from “weirdo billionaires.” Backstage, McKay said he wasn’t referencing anyone in particular. “We’ve seen Bill O’Reilly and Bernie Sanders support this movie — this is a right-left movie,” he said. “I really honestly did not mean either side, but like, Google it. Just Google it. You can see what the candidates have been paid.”
When did Sam Smith get fact-checked?
Sam Smith’s misappropriated claim that he was the first openly gay man to win an Oscar didn’t last long. The Best Original Song victor got a reality check in the press room when a reporter informed him of his error. “F— that!” Smith quipped, adding, “Two’s my lucky number, so it’s all good.” Um, no. A number of gay men have Oscars, so he’s more like 12th. It is true, however, that no openly gay actor has ever won an Oscar.
Why is everyone talking about the Mad Max costumer’s outfit?
Mad Max: Fury Road costume designer Jenny Beavan made no apologies for shirking traditional Oscar gown garb for a casual leather ensemble. “I really don’t do frocks, and I absolutely don’t do heels,” she said backstage. The outfit honored her film. “The scarf was supposed to [represent] an oily rag,” she said. Her one flash of glamour? The Swarkovski-crystal skull on her faux leather jacket.
How much did the Girl Scout cookie stunt actually raise?
A representative for Girl Scouts of the USA confirms that the Inglewood-based troop Rock trotted out onstage to sell cookies to hungry celebs did in fact sell $65,243 through a combination of sales and donations. The bit was a personal request from Rock, whose daughters are not actually members of that troop, but are in fact Girl Scouts in New York.
How did Lady Gaga’s showstopping performance come together?
It was Lady Gaga’s vision to include survivors of sexual assault with her on stage as she sang “Til It Happens to You,” her gut-wrenching anthem from campus rape documentary, The Hunting Ground. The doc’s producer, Amy Ziering, and her team had just one week to gather 50 men and women (nearly half of whom appeared in the movie) in L.A. to rehearse — with Gaga showing up to surprise everyone on Friday. “She told us we were not just bodies on a stage; we were there as a support system to her,” says participant Kirat Sandhu. Vice President Joe Biden, who introduced the song, stuck around for two hours after the show to meet all 50.
Why didn’t the ‘Thank You’ crawl play in the Dolby Theatre?
Viewers at home saw every winner’s personal list of shout-outs scroll across the bottom of the TV, but folks inside the ceremony got no such literature. “We didn’t realize that was happening,” Hill laments of the producers’ oversight. “Placement of monitors has to be looked at seriously. So much is for the TV audience, but the room needs to react for it to be a great show…We were surprised. In the first year, we knew there would be some challenges.”
Who enlisted the cameos in the “Black Actors in White Roles” segment?
Whoopi Goldberg as Joy’s janitor, Tracy Morgan as The Danish Girl — the big cameos in the crowd-pleasing pre-taped segment was borne from big favors for Rock. “That was all Chris,” Hudlin says, adding that it was Rock who asked Leslie Jones to play the Revenant bear. “He’s been a champion of Leslie forever. He put a call into Lorne Michaels when she was up for SNL.”
Where was the Compton movie theater segment actually filmed?
Rock earned raves for his informal poll of Oscar-oblivious moviegoers in Compton — but it turns out, the theater was actually located in nearby Baldwin Hills (Compton doesn’t have a movie theater). “At the Rave, where I saw Straight Outta Compton,” Hudlin says of the one-night shoot. “That was my favorite segment from when [Chris Rock] hosted before, and we hoped he would do it again.”
—Additional reporting by Jessica Goodman, C. Molly Smith, and Nicole Sperling